Me Like Bees
Things can get a little sticky when you have a group of quick witted, stranger than fiction, band mates forming a cooperative mission to make stinging great music. The effervescently cheerful vocalist, Luke Sheafer, of Me Like Bees, took a few moments while out on tour to chat with me about their sound, tour, and new EP, There Will Be Time.
Song River: Your bio reads: “Four narcissistic friends...” is there room in the mirror of reflection for that much awesomeness?
Luke: We just use the mirror in shifts. It allows us to indulge fully, one at a time. I don't think any of us are actually narcissists. If anything, we're all crippled with insecurity, masking it only long enough to play our shows.
SR: Where is indie music right now?
Luke: Indie music is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, it penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together.
SR: How has it changed and grown?
Luke: I think indie music is kind of like pop music in that you don't exactly know how to define it, but you know it when you hear it. It seems as though it's becoming more fractured and encompasses, even more, kinds of sounds. So it has grown and changed a lot as far as its definition and scope of what music is included within the genre if you can call it that.
SR: Can you us an example of when behaviors became uncomfortable and were taken to the level of hysterical quickly?
Luke: One time Nick withheld the fact that he was going to college up until the day before he graduated. That got hysterical in a hurry. We're all pretty butt-hurt that he didn't tell us beforehand.
SR: "The Eye of the Tiger?" Really? Okay, who is the 80's nerd?
Luke: All of us. The answer is all of is.
SR: Sure overtures of Modest Mouse and Arcade Fire are heard, but something even further into your music found me hearing The Waterboys. Where do the bones of your sound come from?
Luke: We all have our backgrounds. I think where we all converge musically are bands like Modest Mouse, Yeah Yeah Yeah's, and The White Stripes.
SR: Who always kicks who in Street Fighter?
Luke: Everyone knows the superior move in Street Fighter is the hard kick with the R button. So in a literal sense, everyone is kicking everyone. In earnest, though, the only ones who have played each other are Nick and Tim. Tim just recently set up the TV and Wii in the van so we haven't fully explored the food chain of who kills who in what game yet.
SR: Where is the heart of Joplin, Missouri?
Luke: The heart of Joplin, MO is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, it penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together.
SR: What else besides Me Like Bees and huge mosquitoes come from Joplin?
Luke: Never Shout Never, Ben Miller Band, Carter Hulsey, Caleb Denison, The Too's, Kenny Foster, J-Thrill. All of these are things that have come out of Joplin.
SR: Do your lyrics come from this part of America? If so, describe how you think they are relatable to anyone anywhere at any time.
Luke: Well, I don't feel like our lyrics stem from the Midwest experience if that's what you're asking. I mean, this isn't Americana music. Just like every songwriter, I think the lyrics stem from my worldview and my experiences. Our aim isn't always to write songs that everyone will relate to because in my opinion those songs usually don't have any real offering. I try not to think about how relatable certain ideas or phrases are when I'm writing songs, and that's not to say I don't care what people think because honestly I want people to enjoy our music. It's just not a focus for me.
SR: New EP, There Will Be Time. A title that sounds like a song that has a message.
Luke: Yeah, it comes from a poem by T.S. Eliot entitle "The Love Ballad of J. Alfred Prufrock". I kind of based the title track loosely on this poem. It's really about a man reflecting on his life and bemoaning how little risk he took. Sad. Very sad stuff.
SR: This is album number three correct? With lyrics coming from a theological point, but a persona of not taking self too seriously- are these two opposing at times aspects of the four of you confusing to friends, and family?
Luke: I don't think the two are mutually exclusive. For those who know us, it makes perfect sense. One is personality/presentation and the other is a character.
SR: You worked with John Feldmann on this last album, how did that come about and what did you all learn?
Luke: We got to work with John Feldmann as part of the prize for winning the 2014 Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands. I learned so much in the few days we spent with him about how to cut the excess out of a song and how to maximize its appeal. It was truly amazing.
SR: Who is responsible for the 'witty' lyrics and who claims the 'complex/catchy' melodies?
Luke: I write the lyrics and come up with the melodies and Pete writes a lot of the music. Man, we do sound narcissistic. Need to change that bio.
SR: The decisions of first single released into videos always are interesting. Why "Tundraland?"
Luke: It kind of went like this:
Us: “Which one do you think is a single?”
John Feldmann: “Tundraland.”
SR: Touring can be one of the best ways to connect with fans, make new friends, and gain a bunch more ideas for lyrics. What are some of the little things along the way, aside from video games, do the four of you always stop and do when on tour?
Luke: I always try to connect with people at every show. It is the most interesting thing about touring, really. Every show would feel the same I think if not for meeting new people.
SR: Who else aside from Never Shout Never would you like to find yourselves headlining with come 2017?
Luke: Pretty sure WWIII is going to be here in 2017. I'll be too busy building my bunker to tour. Jk. I'd like to tour with Cold War Kids or Manchester Orchestra. That would be super.
SR: Me Like Bees... stingy honey? (cue bad pun) tell us a little about the name.
Luke: We just blurted it out one day and we googled it and found it in a verse in Psalm 118 that we really liked so we just stuck with it.
SR: Best way you like fans to find you and connect?
Luke: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook @melikebees